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Thread: SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

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    Default SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    ______________________________________

    SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    Even though 30+ years in the pool business has taught me to be skeptical to anything the pool industry calls "new and improved", for a number of years, I was hopeful that SWCGs would prove to be an exception to the dismal pattern.

    It's 2018 . . . and they weren't.

    So here's my Pro & Con list. Read it, and if you are still interested, check out my post on How to Buy and Operate a Salt Water Chlorine system Successfully.

    ______________________________________

    Con:
    + 'Salt water' is really salt water CHLORINE generation. Even though SWCG (salt water chlorine generator) manufacturers no longer -- after several law suits -- claim in writing that SWCG's are "chlorine-free" or "natural" many consumers continue to believe just that.

    + Salt water is damaging to most pools, and extremely destructive to above-ground pools. By the time the damage is discovered, the expense is often extreme.

    + Cells typically last 2 - 4 years. Replacement costs 60% or more of original cost. Contrary to expectations, SWCG are much MORE expensive than BBB method treatment of pools. (See below for exceptional results reported by JimK)

    + Pool owners rarely understand that their SWCG only provide baseline chlorination, and that any ADDITIONAL demand must be provided with bleach or other chlorine sources.

    + Pool owners have unrealistic expectations of what is required, even after a SWCG is in place.They fail to provide necessary water treatment, leading to a variety of unexpected problems.

    + SWCG operation requires long run pump times (8+ hours) for proper operation.

    + SWCGs are deceptively convenient, and many pool owners forget to manage the OTHER bits of pool chemistry (pH, stabilizer on all pools; alkalinity and calcium on concrete pools, or pools with heaters)

    + Deceptive marketing combines with wishful thinking, leading to buyers who still think "salt water pools" are natural or chlorine-free. Even after legal action years ago, the deceit continues, though in more subtle forms. The truth is, SWCGs are neither 'natural' nor 'chlorine-free' . . . and they never were.
    ______________________________________

    Pro:
    + Salt makes the pool water feel 'softer' & 'nicer'. Not everybody likes it; some people prefer water that feels 'crisper' and more 'refreshing', but most people seem to prefer the salt 'feel'. You don't have to have an SWCG to add salt . . . but if you add salt you STILL have to check out your pool's compatibility, even if you don't have a SWCG.

    + SWCG's -- when working -- provide the most stable source of continuous chlorination available to homeowners. For folks who are homebodies, the need to toss a few cups of chlorine in daily is not a big issue. But vacations can be a headache, when they return to a green pool. But for those who travel frequently SWCG units can be a lifesaver.

    + Put simply, SWCGs can be more convenient than other methods of chlorination.


    But that's it, folks . . . .

    That's the only real advantage SWCGs offer.

    They aren't cheaper. They aren't 'natural'. They aren't chlorine-free.

    . . . . Sorry!
    ______________________________________

    Thanks to Steve_in_NC and JimK for their comments.

    ______________________________________
    Last edited by PoolDoc; 07-17-2018 at 10:24 PM.

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    Default Re: SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    I've been mulling over "convenient".

    And, I think I'll add that to BOTH the pro & con lists.

    SWCG are convenient, though in truth, I don't find them *that* convenient. I can, and have, operated multiple lightly used commercial pools ( = heavy residential use patterns ) with 2x per week treatment. Home pools can be operated easily enough with 1x per week IF they don't leak and IF their filters work.

    The problem with 'convenient' is again the deception: you STILL need to manage pH, stabilizer, cleaning, and on concrete pools, alkalinity and calcium. SWCGs don't help with that, and often make pH management harder.

    Few people can do care for their pools in less than 1x per week, with or without an SWCG.

    Unfortunately many people DO spend less than 1x per week, leading to expensive and difficult problems.

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    Default Re: SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    Wow. I guess my 14 year SWCG experience is an outlier. I do find it more convenient than manually chlorinating and haven’t experienced the cons. My experience has been quite the opposite of what Ben describes.

    I think perhaps Ben touches on why many don’t have a good experience; improper use and unrealistic expectations (the marketing doesn’t help!).

    22'x40' Grecian Lazy L 20K gal IG vinyl pool; Aqua Rite SWCG T15 cell; Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter; Hayward Superpump 1hp pump; 12 hrs; Taylor K-2006; city; PF:6

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    Default Re: SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    Jim,

    What size AquaRite do you have?
    How long does your pool stay uncovered each season?
    What CYA level do you maintain?
    How do you 'shock'? (SWCG or manual)

    . . . it may be, I need to add a "How to have an SWCG and NOT regret it!" section.

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    Default Re: SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generators) - Pro & Con

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolDoc View Post
    Jim,

    What size AquaRite do you have?
    How long does your pool stay uncovered each season?
    What CYA level do you maintain?
    How do you 'shock'? (SWCG or manual)

    . . . it may be, I need to add a "How to have an SWCG and NOT regret it!" section.
    1. T 15 cell (rated for 40k gal pool). “Oversizing” is important, IMO.

    2. Pool stays uncovered all season; 5 - 5.5 months here.

    3. I keep CYA 70-80

    4. The only time I “shock” is at opening and closing, using plain bleach. If I ever need to increase FC during the season, I do so with bleach. The SWCG is only used to maintain the FC level.

    Btw, I thank you for my good experience. Before finding this site many years ago, I was relying on my pool store for testing, advice, and chems. After a couple seasons or so it was obvious what I was doing wasn’t working well (and was expensive!), so I started searching the internet and found this site whereI learned proper care of my pool and proper SWCG use.

    (Edit: Sig updated with cell size)
    22'x40' Grecian Lazy L 20K gal IG vinyl pool; Aqua Rite SWCG T15 cell; Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter; Hayward Superpump 1hp pump; 12 hrs; Taylor K-2006; city; PF:6

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